Suicide prevention – let’s talk

Youth suicide awareness and prevention

The alarming increase in suicide rates is common knowledge but it was in 2018, when 16-year-old Richard (RIP) threw himself off a department store in Puerto Banús that it really brought the reality home.   A tragedy on a scale that is beyond measure and comprehension; no one to blame and impossible to undo.

Now 16-year-old Jacobo has also been lost to us (RIP) and although we still have no official reasons for his passing, again the vulnerability of our youth is apparent and the pain is raw.

How can we but ask ourselves “Could we have done more?” Could we be more aware that changes in behaviour may not just be a question of teen tantrums or unsavoury choices, but reactions to situations we cannot even imagine they’re facing?

Just last week I met a father who had picked up his son countless times from Richard’s house, until they drifted apart as Richard was taking a path the other child didn’t like.

In hindsight, if a child could see something was changing, how come no adult saw it or thought it was significant, or up to them to say something, or do something, or tell someone?  Perhaps they did.

Often, it’s easier to talk to a stranger so clearly professionals must be more readily available to all children and if there isn’t anyone to talk to, encourage calling a helpline.    Sometimes all we need is to talk to someone and hear our thoughts out loud to be free of them.  We need to ensure a helpline number comes to mind and the number is always available if needs be.

The Rotary E-Club Mediterráneo is already campaigning actively through their ‘Agarrate a la vida’ initiative to create more awareness on the new worldwide suicide pandemic and have chosen to help ‘La Barandilla’ (a Spanish non-profit association) raise the much-needed funds to achieve their goal of turning their helpline service into a 24 hour, seven days a week, 365 days a year support system. This will cost around €100,000 a year.

The United Nationalities of Marbella is launching a #LeanOnMe campaign on November 18 at The Harbour to help them raise awareness and additionally establish an international extension for those who don’t speak Spanish.

We have 147 nationalities registered on the Marbella town census and many wonderful hospitals, clinics and qualified professionals who, together, could provide this international aspect and share the responsibility of answering the phones, 24/7.  If you are interested in collaborating please contact [email protected].

I like the idea of getting local organisations involved which will not only mean that we can give anonymous support by telephone, but for those who feel they need a more personal approach, a place to go for support if they want to.

La Barandilla has opened a bank account for UNM so everyone will clearly see how donations are spent. If you wish to contribute here are the details – Account Title, United Nationalities of Marbella – La Barandilla – Bank La Caixa – Account number: ES89 2100 1898 9002 0043 2033 •

Nicole King’s opinions are her own and are not necessarily representative of those of the publishers, advertisers or sponsors.

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Nicole King

One of Marbella's most glamorous residents, Nicole King offers a taste of the best of what's going on in the Costa del Sol.